Dwarfs maintain a very organized and disciplined society. A dwarf’s demeanor usually mirrors the environment in which it lives: dark, cold, quiet, and downright unyielding. They are very family and clan oriented, their survival depends on it. Women generally stay at home and raise the children and take care of the home, most if not all dwarfish women know how to fight and keep a suit of armor somewhere in the home. Occasionally their appears a dwarfish warrior of the female persuasion. Women usually give the first fundamental lessons in reading, fighting, etc. Then at a certain age the young dwarf starts a type of public education and from their is selected by a master, often his father, mother or other relative to begin a more specialized apprenticeship. Most dwarfs are screened for special abilities and talents and are given some leeway in what they decide to do with their lives. A sense of community and family amongst the entire race makes physical disputes almost nonexistent within a clan, and inter-clannal disputes very rare. When they do arise they are often decided by a competition. Sometimes dueling warriors are placed in a maze or arena. And sometimes it is an organizational challenge such as building a bridge or dam in an allotted time. Either way, the final result is almost always accepted. With so many enemies and such a hard environ dwarfs cannot afford to spill each others blood. Dwarfs treat all other races with an almost xenophobic fear. Many overcome this fear and travel or work with Humans and Elves, Orcs are another story. Drow and other underground races are treated with genocidal hatred. It is said that dwarfs have been the destroyers of at least one underground race (Goblins) and possibly others. Dwarfs have fought battles with almost every other race and have little love for Dragons. Currently they have local truces and treaties with whatever local race they border. Loyalty, honesty, and craftsmanship are the three most prized dwarfish virtues.
90% of all dwarfs are literate. They ofter learn the languages of races they are at war with as well. Many dwarfs speak at least two languages and some speak more. Written dwarfish is similar to old Celtic ruins and is highly intertwined with magic. Weapons, homes, and even every day items have names engraved in them that give them power and meaning. More often than not, these runes are magically fortified with enchantments.
The smith and engineer are two of the most respected positions in a dwarfish community. Dwarfs have developed smithing techniques that are far above any other race. They can produce armor that is 25% lighter but costs three times as much, in a dwarfish community. Outside a dwarfish community it is likely to cost up to 20 times as much as normal. It is very rare for such a suit to be made for a non-dwarf. Dwarfs have also learned secrets for forging metals that are resistant to magic. Armor of this type costs 20% more but will give the wearer an additional DR of +1 vs magical and non-magical attacks. In some cases it also allows one level of magic resistance. Dwarfs are also capable of crafting weapons of fine and very fine quality. Some forgers can actually create weapons with magical properties without using spells. Some of these weapons are capable of bypassing magical barriers and armor while others give bonuses to the user’s skill, speed, and damage. (Treat as enchanted weapons for cost purposes, which is of course lower in a dwarfish community.) These weapons are not technically magical and can not be countered with normal magical means. When dwarfish mages get a hold of weapons and enchant them through normal means, they are susceptible to normal magic rules.
Dwarfs do not depend on magic. They ensure that any crafted or built item is sound before any sort of enchanting or rune engravings are added. Nor do they depend on magic to give advantages in combat scenarios. They use magic frequently, but ingenuity and muscles are the backbone of dwarfish culture. Deafs do have mages and even a few quasi-secret societies. One of which is a mysterious fire cult. The dwarfs that show a propensity to magic, and the uncommonly large number that are fire-aspected, have formed a cult of sorts that teaches these skills. Fire is however one of the dwarfs feared enemies, especially underground; consequently, these mages are feared but respected. Many occupy normal positions within their community and only use their magic when a particularly dire situation arises. In times past, this pseudo-cult has been outlawed, if not persecuted.
The dwarfish berserker is indeed a feared warrior. These fighters are often orphans or the socially uncouth and have been “drafted” or volunteered for this elite unit. They receive specialized combat training which includes a berserk fury. Some have learned to control this more than others. These berserkers often wear light armor and heavily enchanted weapons. Most have also been trained extensively in tunnel fighting; although explosives, fire, and other tactics are usually left to other specialized troops.
Ground bearers are an unusual mammal that resembles a six-leged badger, but has the temperament of a mild dog. They have been bred to be common household pets and pack animals. Some have been bred for fighting and have the same intelligence and temperaments of similar dog breads. Compared to a dog, they have a reduced move, increased encumbrance, poor eyesight, but increased hearing and smell. Wild versions of the ground bearer no longer exist. Small weasels or ferrets are also a common household pet and are used for hunting game and small sport.
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